Perhaps the most important thing for any website is the literal name of the site, known as the domain name. Having a great domain name allows a business to advertise themselves in a way that is catchy and easy for customers to remember. Once you decide on your preferred domain name, the next step is finding out if the domain name is taken and if the domain is owned by someone, how to purchase a domain from an owner. Understanding who controls domain names allows you to not just select the name you want, but keep costs down if someone is parked on your desired domain.
Knowing where to register your domain name is critical to getting your website off the ground. There are a couple of ways to go about getting your domain name. The first step is to check with ICANN to see who actually owns the domain name you are seeking. When you type in the name of the domain you are interested in and see a readout of information, this means someone owns the domain name. Conversely, if you get a reply that says the domain name does not have information attached to it, then getting the desired domain name is as simple as finding a way to purchase it.
Purchasing a Domain Name with a Hosting Service
One of the best things about hosting services is they do a lot of the busy work needed to give you the free time necessary to develop your site. One of these things is dealing with the administrative work of acquiring the domain name and registering it with the appropriate DNS servers. Choosing Wix or Weebly for your website allows you to easily purchase a domain name. All you would do is pay the fee via the hosting service and at that point, you own the domain.
Except, it is not that easy. If you decide that you no longer want to use the hosting service, they still own the name and at that point, you would have to purchase the domain name from them. The reality is these hosting services incur domain name-related costs each year and if you register your domain with them, you must also understand that they keep your domain updated every year. The good news is this updating requires a nominal fee each year.
That said, if you decide to move your site to another platform, the hosting services will not overcharge you for taking the domain name and leaving, but at the same time, you have to compensate them for their services.
Purchasing a Domain Name Directly
If looking upon ICANN that a domain name is available, a great place to go to purchase the domain name is GoDaddy. At GoDaddy, you can easily purchase an available domain, and then at that point, the domain is yours. The site will also help you register your domain with the appropriate DNS services so that your site will appear when people type it in. That said, when you purchase the site name directly, you own the name but need someone to host the site itself.
Now, bringing back hosting services, you can actually import your owned domain name to them. This means if you use Wix or Weebly for a while and then decide you wish to do something else, all you need to do is finish doing business with the hosting service as you still own the domain. Every year you will be required to pay any fees associated with the domain name and keeping it on the DNS servers though.
Purchasing a Domain from Someone Else
When you visit GoDaddy and you find that a domain name is owned by someone else, there will usually be a price that is associated with it. To pay the fee all you need to do is go through the site, however, when looking it up, you can also find the contact information of the person and organization that owns the domain name. This is important if you decide that you wish to negotiate with that entity to get the domain name at a reduced price.
There are also domain broker services. These services are essentially professional domain negotiators. Their job is to get you the domain at a cheaper price, but at the same time, they require compensation for their services. Using a domain broker means you have security knowing that once you own the name, all the paperwork is done properly, and the seller can’t come back later and claim something was amiss when your use of the domain name brings in higher revenues.
Other Domain Considerations
There are other domain extensions besides .com. When it comes to owning your domain name, make sure you snap up all the other extensions. There are a lot of reasons for this. The first is that if you own all the extensions, no one can make a site that uses your domain name and attaches something like “.info” to it. This will confuse potential customers and result in leakage from your customer base.
Another issue is defamation. If you do not own all the extensions for your domain name, then what could happen is a disgruntled customer or employee can create a site that airs all the dirty laundry from the dispute. No one wants this to happen, so that is why when you are on GoDaddy, just pay the couple extra bucks needed to secure all the extensions of your domain name. This is something to do to avoid massive headaches when a problem would arise.
Getting a domain name for your site is not terribly difficult, and if you have a clever domain name, this is the key element that helps your business brand and gets your name out there for the people to see. Whether going through a hosting site or buying it directly, having a domain name is one of the most important things you can do to get your business off the ground quickly.